In easily the most dramatic game of this year’s NFL Playoffs, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-31 with a last-second field goal, meaning they will move on to face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game next week, competing for a spot at Super Bowl 51. With the game tied at 28 and just over four minutes remaining in regulation, three field goals were kicked before it was all said and done. The final kick, with just three seconds remaining on the clock, put Green Bay on their way to Atlanta and put an end to the Dallas Cowboys’ post-season.
Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys — Recap
Dallas was the first team to score in Sunday’s game, as Dan Bailey completed a 50-yard attempt in the first quarter. But that 3-0 lead would be the last one the Cowboys saw in the game, despite keeping things so close at the end. Before the first quarter was over, Aaron Rodgers connected with Green Bay tight end for a 34-yard touchdown pass, putting the Packers up by four as the second quarter began.
Green Bay proved to be four points better than Dallas in the second quarter as well. While Ty Montgomery ran for two touchdowns, giving Green Bay a 21-3 lead, a 40-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant and another field goal from Dan Bailey kept Dallas within eight points going into the halftime break.
While the Dallas defense prevented Green Bay from scoring more than once in the third quarter, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense failed to produce any points at all. Aaron Rodgers connected with tight end Jared Cook for a three-yard touchdown pass, giving the Packers a 28-13 lead headed into the final quarter of the game. But Cook’s biggest catch of the night was yet to come.
Rookie quarterback Prescott really stepped things up in the fourth quarter for the Dallas fans. First, a touchdown pass to Jason Witten and successful extra point attempt made the score 28-20 with plenty of time to play. Prescott’s second touchdown pass of the night to Dez Bryant put Dallas just 2 points behind Green Bay. After Prescott ran the ball in for a two-point conversion, the game was tied 28-28 with just a few minutes on the clock.
In those final minutes, both teams’ offensive squads proved they could perform in high-pressure situations. A 51-yard field goal from Green Bay’s Mason Crosby put the pressure back on Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. They responded with a 52-yard field goal, tying the game with less than a minute to play. After a spectacular catch from Jared Cook, the Packers were once again in field goal range with just three seconds of gameplay remaining. But Crosby was able to complete the 51-yard field goal — twice, in fact, after a strategically-placed time out call by Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett — and the Packers advance to the NFC Championship game.
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Where to Watch the NFL Playoffs — NFC Championship Game
The NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers will be played on Sunday, January 22. The game will be televised on Fox with kickoff scheduled for 3:05 EST. The AFC Championship Game will air later that same night on CBS with kickoff scheduled for 6:40 EST, featuring the New England Patriots against the winners of Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL Pro Bowl is scheduled for January 29, Sunday, (8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN) and Super Bowl 51 is scheduled for February 5, also Sunday, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Fox.
[Featured Image by Joe Robins/Getty Images]